The New Kid in Town: Flatt Rock Wine Cellars

Located on Seneca Lake, between Penguin Bay Winery and Hazlitt’s 1852 Vineyard, is a new winery. When we were tasting this past weekend, they had only been open for nine weeks. Unlike many of the other vineyards on the east side of Seneca, Flatt Rock Wine Cellars is not on the main drag- it is tucked away just off the road in a small stand of trees, which makes for a lovely drive when you’re visiting in the Fall.


Owned by Dave  and Darla Flatt the vineyard is located on 51 acres of land on the east side of Seneca Lake. Dave was inspired to start the winery while he was living in France, discovering that many of the best wines were located at the small family-owned vineyards rather than the large conglomerates. They moved to the Finger Lakes a few years ago, and started making wine.

The winery serves as barrel storage and a tasting room, giving guests a peek at what is occurring behind the scenes. We were greeted by Dave at a rustic wood tasting bar, and given full size Bordeaux style tasting glasses. Dave believes that having the full-size glass, rather than a tasting sized one, is important for really experiencing the wine and getting the full impact of the rich red notes and feel the impact of their two years aged in French oak. Since they only make dry reds, the oversized glass complements all the wines, and definitely adds to the experience.

Wine at Flatt Rock Wine Cellars


We started with the Pinot Noir 2013, a rich brick red with notes of smoke, leather, and dried cherry. The mouthfeel was light and silky with notes of cherry and wood, and a nice medium drying tannin to finish it off. The Pinot Noir had a much bigger nose than you usually get in the Finger Lakes.

Next was a Merlot 2013, with chocolate mocha, dark cherry and raspberry notes on the nose, but a brighter cherry and leather on the palate. The tannin was soft and chewy, and there was a lingering raspberry note that I really enjoyed.

Cabernet Franc 2013 was our personal favorite, with notes of berry and plum, leather, cigar box and a hint of green pepper. When sipped it was light and spicy with black pepper notes and a big chewy tannin.

We finished with the Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, which had a nose of black berries and cherry, lead pencil, and slate, with a nice acidity, lingering blackberry, and a chewy tannin.

Planning Your Visit

Hours: Currently, the winery is open Saturdays 12 to 6 p.m., but these hours will change during winter. Check out their Facebook page for updates.

Tasting Fee: $3 for 4 wines

Group Wine Tasting: Given the size of the tasting room, I’d call ahead if you’re looking to bring a group over 6 people.

Wine Prices: Their wines range from $25 to 30, and you can get %10 off six bottle or more.

Final Thoughts

We had an incredible time tasting at Flatt Rock, and will definitely be back to see what Dave and his family do next. We love the attention to detail in the tasting room- the large glasses, how they shared details about when the wines were opened, learning about the growing season and production choices, the focus on the guests- it was a great experience that you should check out. It’s always fun to try something new!


5 thoughts

  1. I have been to Flatt Rock several times and totally agree with your comments about their delicious wines, fabulous setting, and their attention to their customers. I highly recommend it.


  2. Only making reds is certainly unique (but not unheard of) in the region.

    Are they making the wines themselves? Getting help from other local winemakers?

    Two years in barrel seems like a lot for most Finger Lakes reds — but I’m curious to try these wines sometime!


    1. Yes, they are making the wine themselves, and yes they are getting help from their neighbors (though as I understood it was more on the advice side). They are an estate winery, so they grow all their product. The wine shows a lot of promise, and is different for the region. Definitely one to check out and keep an eye on.



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